The Simplest Veggie Alternatives To Potato Latkes

Latkes: With a crisp and golden exterior, soft and tender interior, and perfectly dip-able nature that's ideal with sour cream or applesauce, they're just exquisite. Making them at home can sometimes be a bit challenging, but they really don't take much time, and their ingredient list is quite short. If, however, you're not big on potatoes and are looking to diversify your go-to latke recipe, your options are just about limitless.

Essentially a fritter, the potato pancake known as the latke is simply grated potatoes mixed with some binders (like egg and matzo meal) and a bit of onion and salt, cooked up until crisp in neutral oil or another fat. An iconic dish that has been enjoyed for centuries, primarily among Jewish communities and to celebrate Hanukkah, the latke is a mainstay of the holiday season, when fried foods are traditionally eaten to commemorate the Hanukkah oil that miraculously burned for eight days. If you're thinking about somehow altering your standard recipe for this year's festivities, though, then there are a multitude of unique twists you can add to your preparation that will entice (or frustrate, let's be honest) those seeking the traditional. 

Use any veggie that you can grate

Seeing as latkes are pancakes made with shredded potatoes, they could conceivably be recreated with any other shreddable and/or starchy vegetable. The Jerusalem Post lists sweet potato, zucchini, and beets as alternatives for more nutritious (and more colorful) latkes, but many other options would work just as well. Just a few vegetables that grate like a dream and would be terrific in latkes include fennel, rutabaga, celery root, parsnips, turnips, carrots, cabbage, and more. For example, Martha Stewart's version calls for carrots, parsnips, and scallions in addition to potato, while Real Simple uses carrots, parsnips, beets, cornstarch, and dill. There's no end to how imaginative you can get when it comes to latkes.

Once you've decided on your desired veggie combo, you could also ponder other latke updates. For example, the addition of cheeses, such as Parmesan or feta, would help add body, flavor, and salt to the already delicious pancakes. And if your spice cabinet could use some attention, shake in your favorite flavors, from cumin to everything bagel seasoning. Whatever you incorporate, though, don't forget the applesauce and sour cream.